Welcome to our ultimate guide to reusable straws. Packed full with facts and figures explaining the pros and cons of each type of straw along with reviews of the top brands !
The question of sustainability is on everyone’s minds these days. Sustainability refers to creating the capacity for human civilization to coexist with the biosphere without compromising convenience and needs of today’s busy lifestyles.
In essence, sustainability is simple when it is clearly understood.
Sustainability begin with daily use of items like reusable straws.
Recycling and Reducing Waste
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to make your life more sustainable, there are many ways to do this.
One of the most elemental things farmers know is to avoid waste when and wherever possible.
Not only does reducing household and commercial waste lead to a much greener, cleaner environment, but it is far more cost-effective in the short and long term.
The Struggle to Recycle and Reduce Waste
Every country of the world struggles with the high costs of waste disposal even with recycling programs in place. However for most of us, disposal of household waste and reducing it are not part of our daily practice.
Perhaps, the first step is to look more closely at household wastes such as paper, plastic, metal and environmentally hazardous materials like household cleaners, insecticides and detergents.
The single remaining source of household waste to be resolved is food waste composting.
In 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City presented a plan for municipal composting of food wastes. It engendered broad interest which shows urban people want to do their part in reducing waste.
In the UK, there is an ingenuous method of composting food wastes that produces no residual slag or methane gas.
It is one of the most comprehensive plans to reduce food waste. This is done by three main types of food waste digesters:
- The Green Johanna
- The Hotbin
- The Green Cone
All three of these innovative methods rely on natural processes to break down food without producing methane gas.
In addition, the government of the UK provides a full range of tips on composting of food waste and disposal to encourage citizens to take part.
Living the Simple Life with Reusable Products
Much of the volume of consumer purchases contain packaging and products that are not reusable. The answer to this is for consumers to use caution and discretion when choosing products.
Look Closely for Sustainability Sources
Packaging that ends in a landfill is usually more costly for a variety of reasons than packaging that can be reused or recycled.
Packaging of paper, glass, plastic and metals are recyclable.
However, the reality of recycling these is that much of this type of packaging should be substituted for more sustainable products with reusable packaging.
Fast food restaurants rely on recyclable packaging such as paper wrapping for burgers, polyvinyl containers and straws for beverages.
According to statistics, 8.3 billion straws composed of polypropylene are disposed of each year.
Here is a quick study of facts on polypropylene.
It is scientifically a propylene monomer made from thermoplastic monomers.
The actual composition may surprise users of plastic straws.
Polypropylene is made from distillated hydrocarbon fuel which is mainly petroleum.
Thus, plastic straws, even though petroleum used to manufacture them is refined, comes from crude oil which is a carcinogen.
There is no better reason to consider using reusable straws.
What are Reusable Straws Made of?
Reusable straws that are truly environmentally responsible are made from glass, bamboo, silicone and stainless steel.
Reusable Glass Straws
Glass reusable straws are made from borosilicate glass. The properties of borosilicate glass are boron trioxide and silica.
Boron is a mineral found in nuts and often used as medicine to increase the strength of human bones.
Trioxides contain three atoms and becomes part of the compound of borosilicate. Silicate is a salt based mineral.
Borosilicate, used to make glass reusable straws has the strength and durability similar to Pyrex glassware.
These materials used in the manufacture of glass reusable straws are environmentally sound and originate from earth minerals.
Reusable Bamboo Reusable Straws
Bamboo is a highly sustainable, renewable wood resource with numerous uses.
It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and as such, is ideal for use as straws.
Bamboo straws are 100 percent organic and ideal for juices, smoothies and iced tea and coffee.
They are easy to clean in tap water or a quick soak in soapy water after use.
Reusable Silicone Straws
Silicone is also a polymer.
However, its properties differ from plastic in that it originates from methyl siloxane, a component in many skin creams.
As a reusable straw, silicone straws can remain at room temperature whether placed in piping hot or ice cold beverages.
Reusable Stainless Steel Straws
Another addition to straws that can be reused are those made from 304 stainless steel.
The properties of 304 stainless steel are chromium and nickel metals.
For metal drinking straws, 304 stainless steel is food grade quality and leaves no metallic after taste.
304 stainless steel is one of the most commonly used due to its durability.
How Does My Reusing Straws Help the Environment?
Any product on the market today that does not require disposal helps the environment by reducing waste, depletion of natural resources, reducing health related issues and protects the environment from pollution of air, water and soil.
For example, by replacing 8.5 million plastic straws with straws that can be reused the impact is reflected in reducing piles of waste in landfills.
The UK government assessed the volume of plastic straw disposal as
enough to fill Royal Albert Hall a thousand times over,as reported by Jess Denham of the Independent news of Friday, May 18, 2018.
In addition, Mark Hilton, head of sustainable business at the UK’s leading environmental consultancy, Eunomia, regularly advises businesses on the phase out of all plastic items and how to substitute them for more environmentally safe replacements.
Mr. Hilton stated, “The only real ‘need’ for a drinking straw comes from those with certain disabilities and children who are learning to drink from a cup. Cafes and bars could offer a discount for people bringing a reusable straw or provide them on request, sterilising them between uses. If reuse isn’t possible, single-use paper straws are fine for cold drinks.”
Mr. Hilton also warned against switching to items labeled biodegradable. As he noted, many of these biodegradables are composed of bio-polymers such as PLA that have a negative effect environmentally.
Plastic straws and plastic items in general become litter that too often is found in the ocean and on land.
According to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation created by Charles Moore, approximately 60 to 80 percent of marine litter comes from plastics.
These percentages represent in literal terms about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic that wash up on shores around the world.
About 269,000 tons of plastic items float on the ocean’s surface. Another approximate some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer are known to litter the deep seas.
How Are Natural Resources Affected?
In terms of natural resources, the beneficial impact is seen in the reduction of the use of petroleum as the chief ingredient in plastic straws.
Petroleum is a fossil fuel that is not renewable and has been one of the causes of greenhouse gases and reduction of the ozone layer.
It is far healthier to rely on straws for reuse than non-reusable straws.
The impact on health is the exposure to acidic and sugary beverages that are a known source of tooth decay. It is also known that polypropylene in plastic straws leach into liquids when they are inserted into beverages.
Why Should I Switch to Straws I Can Reuse?
If we care about the future of our planet, what better reason to begin to address a program of lifetime sustainability than to switch to straws that can be reused?
With the simple act of switching to straws you can reuse, you make a statement of your commitment to the environment for future generations.
Statistics on the volume of plastic straws used annually present a clear picture of why, as part of the UK’s latest environmental program, reusing straws are the simplest and easiest way to implement a personal program of environmental responsibility and commitment.
How Long Do Straws Last?
The major reason to reuse straws is that they last longer than paper or plastic straws that have only one use.
Glass, steel, silicone and bamboo straws can be used until they begin to show signs of wear.
Stainless steel straws are the longest lasting along with glass straws given their durability properties.
Silicone straws are long lasting and also dishwasher safe. Silicone straws offer a bit more flexibility and softness which makes it ideal for teething youngsters who have a tendency to bite down on straws.
If bamboo straws are properly cared for, they last for many years.
Bamboo’s wood properties make it slightly more porous than the other types of straws for reuse.
Bamboo straws require proper care and maintenance which is true of other types of reusable straws. Proper care and maintenance is important to ensure durability and effectiveness
Proper Care and Maintenance of Straws We Reuse
In most cases rinsing straws we reuse soon after use avoids the need for soaking in soapy water. However, should the straw be used for thick fruity smoothies, we suggest using a commercial straw cleaner.
These are handy items that make straw cleaning quick and convenient.
Straw cleaners have stainless steel handles and brush style heads. They are sold with stainless steel covers that protect the brush heads from damage.
Straw cleaners are sold in most retail stores. You will find that a straw cleaner works for bent head straws as well as straight and rigid.
Dress Up Straws You Reuse with a Case
Protecting the straws we reuse is one way to ensure they are not exposed to bacteria or germs from other surfaces.
These straws are sold with a case that covers several straws and protects them from damage, should they be stored in an automobile compartment, a vest pocket, luggage or handbag.
Cases and protective covers are sold for bamboo, stainless steel, silicone and glass straws.
Choose straw cases made from biodegradable materials or stainless steel, rather than plastic to follow through with your personal program of sustainability.
Straw Size Features
It is important to know the straws we reuse are available in several sizes.
This is something for you consider at the time of purchase.
The sizes matter in order to ensure these straws will fit properly into the sizes of glass and metal beverage containers or container lids.
There are four sizes of straws, each with different measurements in inches and millimeters for you to consider.
- Standard – 0.24 inches and 6.09 in millimeters
- Wide – 0.32 inches and 8.15 millimeters
- Smoothie – 0.36 inches and 9.14 millimeters
- BOBA – 0.48 inches and 12.19 millimeters
Straws are sold in sets that include all four sizes to meet any beverage and beverage container type.
Tall Straws to Reuse
Silicone straws for reuse are sold in extra long 12 inch sizes. These are perfect for beverage tumblers 16 to 30 ounces in size.
If your choice is silicone, at least one or more tall straws is a good choice to keep on hand.
Foldable Straws for Convenience
To make it more convenient to carry along a straw for reuse, we recommend purchasing foldable straws.
These are collapsible and fold neatly away into a small case no larger than that of a computer thumb drive.
This is ultra convenient for individuals who are always on the go. You’ll love how handy they are especially when you are traveling.
How much simpler it is to attach a reusable straw to a keychain in the same way many individuals attach a computer thumb drive?
These are sold with straw cleaners and are collapsible and tuck neatly into a pocket or purse.
Straws are store in a round or cylindrical case no larger than the size of cases dental floss is stored in.
Foldable straws are very reasonably priced and are found online or in retail stores in a variety of colorful carrying cases.
Choose one in your favorite color.
How do Consumers Rate Straws?
Customers who have purchased straws for reuse have given these straws a consumer rating of not less than four and five stars.
Customers who purchased stainless steel straws online gave them a five star rating.
This is also true of glass straws and silicone straws. All received from 89 percent approval to 95 percent approval.
Given such high ratings from customers who used these straws, it is clear there is no difference in customer preferences among the four types of straws.
With high customer ratings in reviews, reusing straws appears to have a sound start to an important change for sustainability.
Which are the Top Brands?
The best straws for reuse according to top online consumer sites are:
- Seraphina’s Kitchen Extra Wide Reusable Silicone Smooth
- StrawGrace Handmade Glass Straws with Colored Tips
- Ecostrawz Natural Bamboo Drinking Straws
- Senhai Stainless Steel Drinking Straws
Seraphina’s Kitchen Extra Wide Reusable Silicone Smooth are extra wide to accommodate smoothies and 25 centimeters long.
StrawGrace Handmade Glass Straws with Colored Tips are made from the same type of glass found in science labs.
They are 23 centimeters in size.
Ecostrawz Natural Bamboo Drinking Straws are 100 percent natural bamboo and are similar to the kind you find in tiki bars.
They are 22 centimeters long and are dishwasher safe.
Senhai Stainless Steel Drinking Straws catch the eye with their iridescent glimmer in rose and gold tones.
They are sold in four different sizes and are dishwasher safe. As a reminder, steel conducts heat and stainless steel straws should not be used for hot beverages.
Can I Use Straws for Gifts?
These straws make ideal gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and special occasions.
Presenting these straws as gifts helps do our part in spreading the ideals of sustainability.
Don’t forget that these straws can become charitable donations to a local senior living center or children’s hospital.
How do I Make My Life Even More Sustainable?
By starting with a straw that can be reused indefinitely, it is the first step to a more sustainable life.
Once alternatives to a more ecologically and environmentally responsible lifestyle are considered, reusing a straw is wholly doable for men, women and children.
Here is an interesting tip to re-use these straws should they become worn or damaged.
Use them for craft projects like wind chimes and in the garden to stake small plants. Add a them to a flower arrangement to keep flowers separated.
Use the silicone and bamboo straws to create picture frames with a bit of glue.
The next time you need a narrow tube to decorate a cake, use the wider straws and fill them with decorative candy sprinkles.
This will give your cake a professional look.
These are just a few of the many ways to get even longer use from the straws you reuse.
Reusing these straws after their original purpose has expired extends the value of your investment in an environmentally sound practice you can add to the creative ways to protect the environment.
It Seems to Me There are Lots of Pros and Few Cons
Start your greener life with this small, yet immensely important step.
There are numerous advantageous pros to switching to straws you can reuse and very few cons.
In terms of cons, exerting a bit more effort for a greener world means taking the time to clean and maintain a straw for reuse.
However, this takes not much more time than it takes to rinse recyclable metal cans and bottle before you place them in a proper receptacle.
In summary reusable straws are one of the most simplest ways in which you can live a more sustainable life.
The secret to the achieving sustainability lies with personal initiative and most of all, commitment. Sustainability is something everyone can contribute to with a little time and a little effort.
The full circle for sustainability lies with a single axiom.
“What comes from the earth should be returned to the earth.”
This is an old saying that stood the test of time during many eras of great famine and natural disasters.
If if can’t be returned from its origins, it is not sustainable and continues a pattern of waste and depletion.
Time to wear the mantle of sustainability and become he standard bearer leading the charge to protect our environment.